Total Annihilation/Tactics and strategies
 Control, guide and structure your attack waves
A proper mid-game or post mid-game attack with any force should never be single directional and especially not attack in the most obvious direction. A proper attack should come from the least expected directions simultaneously, e.g. from top and rear instead of a frontal assault. The attack should not be initiated before all units are in place, that is: lined up right outside where the outer radar perimeter and defense systems are believed to have range. The attack should consist of various effective units, if the enemy is known to have large air forces the player should utilize his own air force as escort to shoot down enemy aircraft and the units should have some mobile anti aircraft units grouped together with them. The group should also consist of not only attack-units; radar jamming units and radar units should also be among the group. There are two basic reasons for this: radar jamming makes the enemy unable to target the opposing player's forces and normal mobile radar units make the player's units able to automatically (with a targeting facility) strike at hostile targets spotted on radar. Every one of the items listed will solely make the attack more effective and should all be combined to make the attack as effective as possible.
Learning about the enemy's resources and plans is crucial in regard to directing the player's own actions. There are several units designed for this purpose both for land, sea and air and they should be used frequently for this purpose. Scouting should start early and be a continuous activity throughout the game, unless fixed player starting locations are selected for game play the location of the player's enemy/enemies is unknown and should be learned as quickly as possible. Some scouts should be sent directly to known hostile areas and others should be set to patrol either important areas like paths that are needed to be crossed in order for an attack force to advance against the player. Another form which can be considered scouting is to use advanced construction aircraft to move around the map, building advanced radars in various locations, this will give you a nice overview of the map, but is of course no security against radar jammers or cloaking. Units that serve both purposes combined (radar and visual sight) are mobile radar units, radar planes in particular are very useful in many cases, the drawback with such units are cost, build time, lack of speed and weak radar, i.e. the fixed radars and scouts are better at their specific sole purpose than the hybrid units. Smart continuous scouting, multiple advanced radars placed throughout the map and mobile radar units combined together should give the player the best possible overview of the map.
 Pressure on the Opponent
Sometimes putting pressure on the opponent by attacking even though the player is aware they are ineffective can be very useful to lead the attention of the adversary away from what the player is actually doing. E.g. the player can attack the opponent continuously over a period simply to keep the enemy busy while the player simultaneously constructs long range weapons within range to destroy critical components of the enemy base. Several smaller attacks can of course also be used to lead the attention away from where the actual huge attack will be coming (which might consist of a tightly packed group completely invisible on radar due to radar jamming).
 Search and Destroy
Roaming around the map searching for hostile targets to kill with little or no defense puts pressure on the opponent and often destroys useful things such as radar posts. This is especially useful if the enemy is using a distributed strategy/layout.
This is also important to do prior to a large scale attack, i.e. roam the map, destroy every unguarded (or lightly guarded) scout, radar post, etc. so that the enemy will be as unaware as possible of the fact that an attack is coming at all, and not knowing from which direction. A pattern of hunting for scouts and radars prior to the attack will though of course quickly be obvious to more aware players. For this reason it might be wise to not hunt for radar posts and simply rely on radar jamming to hide the advancing force (radar jamming should be utilized in all cases), however there is no way to hide a large force from patrolling scouts, these should be avoided (difficult to almost impossible, but might be possible if very few in numbers) or destroyed.
 Base Construction and Maintenance
The most effective way to construct several structures early in the game is to use the Commander and a set of arbitrary helper construction units working together as a team. One of the construction units will initiate the construction with the other units guarding that unit. Having construction units guard another construction unit will make them automatically follow and help constructing whatever this unit is building at the time, thus assigning the initiating unit to construct any number of buildings will have all the helper units assist in the construction of all the structures. However, when reaching mid-game on larger maps and especially with very high unit limits the player will have vast numbers of construction units and the above tactic will arise some problems; very often the helper-units will stand in the way of the new building to be constructed, making several of the buildings planned to be constructed fail to be built. A more serious problem is that with even larger numbers of helper-units the helpers may actually trap the leader (the construction unit that initiates the constructions) as the helpers tend to pack themselves in a tight circle around the construction site.
A solution to the above problem is to set the helpers to patrol back and forth on a line adjacent with where the new soon-to-be structures will be instead of guarding the initiating construction-unit. Setting construction units on patrol sets them on "repair patrol" which also makes them aid in any construction taking place nearby their patrol route. The idea with a patrol-route being that the helper-units will move out of the way automatically when finished with the building being constructed at the moment, making way for the initiating unit to move itself and also allow it to initiate the new building — thus making it a fully autonomous process.
There is a limit to the number of construction units that can assist in building a single building, the limit is however only the space and range of the construction units, there are however no such limits on construction aircraft, > midgame the player should utilize enormous groups of construction aircraft to aid in construction as these can do this in almost unlimited numbers. It should also be noted that construction vehicles build faster and move faster than kbots, with construction aircraft being the slowest builders but fastest moving construction units.
The following steps illustrate a construction set of solar arrays using the former early-game method:
- Select the helpers
- Order the helpers to guard the constructor
- Select the constructor
- Select the Solar array out of the build menu
- Hold down shift and left-click a spot to place the first solar array
- Continue holding shift while left-clicking other areas to place as many solar arrays as necessary
 The Commander
The Commander is a very special unit in the game. He has strong armour and special features like the very powerful weapon called the "D-gun". He is cloakable and is able to capture enemy units. He can construct buildings the fastest of all and also houses almost all of the energy and metal resources of the player. Most importantly the game can be set to end if the Commander is killed.
Even if the game is not set to end if the Commander is killed, you must not lose him until post mid-game (unless the player can gain an extreme advantage somehow which is mentioned in later sections). Post mid-game the player has enough resource storage facilities and resources in general that losing the commander is not as important. Another "feature" of the Commander is the powerful explosion it makes when destroyed, this has to be carefully taken into account as it can be an advantage in some cases and a disadvantage in others (elaborated in later sections).
The Commander should be heavily utilized during the game to construct buildings and aid in construction of buildings the Commander cannot initiate itself. The Commander should only engage in battles where it is certain it will not be destroyed; e.g. the Commander can help deal with an early rush attack but should not be a unit part of a large defence or attack force as it can easily be destroyed despite its heavy armour, this is especially true if the opposing player recognizes the commander is engaged in the battle and then targets all units to directly attack the Commander.
It is possible to build decoy commanders, however the usefulness of this is questionable as the opposing player can easily discover if an arbitrary unit is a decoy-Commander or the real Commander by holding the cursor over the unit and the label will reveal which is the case. Post mid-game simply continuously cloaking the real Commander to preserve it for possible later use can be an option.
These are useful codes that are not considered cheats. Type these strings in the chat text-field for the desired effect:
- "+shootall" will make units automatically attack any enemy structures, normally units will only attack dangerous structures and units even if set at "fire at will", note that using this code can sometimes (or perhaps often) be a disadvantage as sometimes it is desired to focus on units that are a direct threat instead of structures that can do no direct damage to the player's forces.
- "+bps" will display transfer rates.
- "+noshake" will make the screen not shake when large explosions occur.
- "+showranges" will make the selected unit's various ranges (such as visual contact, weapon ranges, etc.) show on the mini-map. This clutters the screen if multiple units are selected, so it's best toggled on and off as needed.
 Using D-gun
The commander has a very powerful weapon called the disintegrator gun, or "d-gun". This weapon will destroy almost everything with a single hit and can be heavily used early in the game during rush or in end-game (more on this in the Strategy section).
 Using the "capture" feature
If your enemy is the opposite of you (e.g. you are playing ARM while the enemy is CORE) then a transport airplane can be used to capture a lone enemy construction unit, bring it to a location where all your units are set to hold fire and then use the Commander to capture the construction unit, i.e. giving you control over it and thus making you able to build units from both sides. The capture feature can also be used to capture other structures and units, such as capturing the CORE Krogoth. If you spot a Krogoth send a group of spider tanks to paralyze it. Once it's paralyzed you can capture it with your Commander.
 Tactics considered cheating
These tricks are not fair playing and are considered by many to be cheats and/or bugs.
 Commander Capture
After game start, use all resources to build a transport airplane as fast as possible, fly over to the enemy base and pick up the enemy Commander. After this is done the player can simply hover with the airplane until it gets shot down, which will destroy the enemy Commander.
 Commander Drop
Early in the game the player will construct a transport airplane, pick up the player's own Commander, fly the Commander to the enemy base (drop the Commander off close by and walk the rest to avoid air defences, if any), walk up to the enemy Commander and attack by D-gun. This will destroy both Commanders but will also destroy most of (if not the entire) base of the enemy without hurting the player's base at all. Both player's energy and metal storage abilities will drop to near nothing, but this can be restored and the player will of course have a great advantage due to the extreme damage caused in the enemy base. Followed by a rush this can easily win the game in an unfair way.
You can also order the transport plane to self destruct while your commander is still on board this gives you a 5s countdown after which both units go off with a massive explosion. Do it early enough & catch the enemy commander inside the blast radius & you can destroy both the enemy base and commander - game over.
 "Stealing" energy
After mid-game, building a lot of moho metal makers and turning them off one by one after construction is completed. Once the player has a large amount of metal makers he can turn them on and give them to the enemy - making the enemy's energy resources drop quickly to naught. And of course at the same moment the opposing player's large attack forces sweeps through the enemy base.
 Mistakes commonly made by players new to TA
 Grouping units and structures
Forgetting to make a group for each type of units. E.g. one group for aircraft, one for ground units, one for moho metal makers, one for artillery, etc.
 Unaware of shortcut-keys
New players are often not familiar with the most basic shortcut keys, there is a list of the keys in the in-game help, most of these should be learned by heart and utilized whenever needed.
 Not utilizing resources
The player should at all times maximize the available resources. E.g. when building a structure the player should have all other available construction units help building (unless energy/metal is a shortage at the time, of course). The fact that this is even possible to do is often forgotten by new players. Having a lot of construction units in general is also something new players regularly do not do.
 Wasting resources
In TA there is a maximum amount of energy and metal that can be stored. If you are gaining net metal or energy, and the storage for that resource is full, then the resources you should be getting are simply lost. To avoid wasting resources like this you should spend resources in such a way that your resource storage is never full, or increase your resource storage by building metal and energy storage buildings. If you are about to fill your energy storage you could turn on more metal makers to convert that energy into metal. If you are about to run out of energy, or fill your metal storage, you can turn metal makers off. If you are about to fill both metal and energy storage then you need to build more units and buildings.
 Not grouping an attack force
When attacking the enemy, make sure that your forces don't arrive all spread out and so get picked off one by one. Instead, send them all to one spot close to the enemy but out of enemy range, and then send them in. Alternatively, you can have your army guard its slowest unit, then send that one unit on its way. This keeps the group moving together. For more see the Tactics section in the top.
Remember that hovercraft can travel over acid and lava, thus being able to attack from very unexpected directions on maps where this is present. Remember to turn off metal makers (these should be assigned a group for easy access) when under heavy attack to allow long range plasma weapons to be able to suppress fire continuously and at a high rate, especially important for weapons such as the Vulcan.